We’ve really enjoyed the work that Lincoln Henderson has done with the Louisville Distilling Company and Angel’s Envy whiskey. Their first release, a port finished bourbon, helped set the stage for many great port whiskey releases. That was followed up by a unique cask strength offering which delivered a flavor experience on par with many of the great big, bold whiskeys. Now Angel’s Envy is back innovating by putting a six year old rye whiskey (95% rye, 5% malted barley) into a Caribbean Rum finishing cask. While it’s not stated, we’re guessing that the casks came from Plantation Rum, which uses French oak cognac barrels to age rum. Angel’s Envy Rye whiskey uses this same kind of rum and cognac aged French Oak barrel.
Angel’s Envy Rye Whiskey ($69.99, 50% abv / 100 proof) – dark gold with a hint of copper color, this whiskey looks decidedly different from other rye whiskeys we’ve seen. The nose is as distinct as the color, with a clear rye spice sandwiched between a sweet rum note along with vanilla and gingerbread. It’s surprising just how pronounced the rum is on the nose. The rum notes are extremely clear on the entry as well, which is clearly a 100 proof whisky. The entry is demerara sugar with vanilla, rye spice, and gingerbread. In the midpalate the oak notes really emerge as the overall spice ramps up. The spice fades a bit and the clear rum quality of this whiskey returns for a flavorful finish that combines rum with rye spice.
Angel’s Envy Rye is an interesting and innovative release, but we’re not sure how we feel about it. The idea of marrying rum, rye whiskey, and French oak is an interesting one, but it drinks more like a thesis than anything else. The rum notes in the whiskey are nice, as are the rye spice notes, but we’re not too sure that these notes really go together. Angel’s Envy port finish was such a revelation because of the way the flavors integrated, but here the pieces don’t fit together quiet as nicely. Angel’s Envy Rye left us craving good aged rum more than anything else. We applaud Lincoln Henderson for pushing the boundaries and trying something new, but for our money we’ll be sticking with the classic port finished release.